Any new car will be a compromise. Choose a sleek sports car for handling and performance and you miss out on practicality and often comfort. Pick something bigger for practicality and you’re likely to have to sacrifice running costs. But what if you didn’t have to compromise? We’ve chosen the best attributes of some of our favourite cars to create the perfect model – and our main image shows how it would look.
The rest of the third-generation TT’s exterior might look as if it’s been photocopied from the last model, but the front end makes a bold new statement. The sharp-edged grille and flared nostrils combine aggression and modernism in just the right measure – something that Audi has always excelled at. There are hints here to the next-generation A4 and a new family of SUVs from the brand, albeit with a more three-dimensional form for the grille.
Air-suspension is a must-have for the ultimate luxury ride – it’s impossible for steel springs to emulate the smooth, wafting progress it provides. That’s why many limos offer air-suspension, but it really comes into its own in the Land Rover Discovery. The long suspension travel means the SUV is not only comfortable when cruising, but also irons out the worst potholed streets and speed bumps. Plus, you can lower the car to improve access, or raise it for off-roading.
Nearly every maker has a great engine in its line-up these days – whether it’s petrol, diesel or hybrid. But the Porsche 911 GT3’s flat-six is one of the best, and not even the recent recall can detract from its appeal. This remarkable 469bhp 3.8-litre revs to a heady 9,000rpm, plus it stands out with its spine-tingling sound. From a gruff mechanical idle to a full-blooded race car yowl at maximum revs, it’s like conducting a six-cylinder orchestra with your right foot.
The new C-Class benefits from a lot of the tech that’s already featured on the S-Class, and the biggest and most welcome change comes in the equipment included inside. The compact exec is one of the first cars to feature Apple’s CarPlay system, which gives iPhone owners a sleek in-car interface using the tablet-style screen found in other Mercedes. This makes it easier than ever to control music streaming, hands-free calls and even navigation, and we want it in our Frankencar. We’d love its stylish rear lights, too.
Decent practicality often requires lots of space – not something all cars are blessed with. So inside, our Frankencar would take inspiration from a model that went off sale in 2010. The Fiat Multipla launched in 1998 to a mixed reception, largely on account of its bizarre looks. But they hid an innovative layout of two rows of three seats, which meant room for six from an MPV based on the Brava. The idea was later copied by the Honda FR-V, and is still probably the best way to squeeze a lot of people into a small car.
Reliability would be hard to gauge if it wasn’t for the annual Auto Express Driver Power satisfaction survey. A total of 46,000 readers took part in 2013, and voted the latest, MkIII Toyota Yaris Britain’s most reliable car, with a score of 98.40 per cent. All Toyotas are renowned for being durable, but as the Yaris topped one of the most robust and respected customer satisfaction polls, this was the only model we’d want to donate its reliability record to our Frankencar.
The C4 Cactus is Citroen back to doing what it does best: innovative style. And it has one of the best rear ends in the business. A more obvious choice might be a supercar, with wings and diffusers, but when you’re reversing in a busy car park, which would you prefer: a car with no rear visibility and oversized dimensions, or the Cactus’ squared-off tail with bubble wrap-style Airbumps to protect you from wandering shopping trolleys? So the Cactus is practical – it also features a 358-litre boot – but it still looks great, too.
Safety: Volvo V40
We've taken our Frankencar’s safety credentials from the safest model Euro NCAP has ever crash tested. The Volvo V40’s adult occupancy rating of 98 per cent is second to none, while the innovative pedestrian airbag helped it score 88 per cent for pedestrian safety. Systems such as pedestrian detection, city safety and autobrake ensured the car got full marks in the safety assist category, too.
If it looks a bit like a Cayman, it’ll drive like one, right? We’ve given our Frankencar headlights from Porsche’s mid-engined coupé to reflect how we want it to handle – as the Cayman has fantastic weight distribution and is beautifully balanced in corners. Add great steering feel, superb body control and incredible traction, and you’ve got a brilliant driving experience. It’s agile, with a fine balance of grip between the front and rear axle, and entertains on the right road – although adaptive damping ensures the ride isn’t uncomfortably firm.
If you want a lesson in minimalist interior design, the Tesla Model S is it. This hi-tech all-electric saloon has an equally futuristic cabin, complete with a grand total of one button on the dash – for the hazard lights. Everything else is controlled via a huge iPad-like touchscreen, which becomes second nature as soon as you take the wheel. And if you can’t take your eyes off the road, you can access everything through the steering wheel – even the opening or closing of the sunroof. As there is no transmission tunnel, you get a nice, open storage space between front seat occupants, while there’s no risk of the window switches and control stalks breaking as they are borrowed from Mercedes.
This is fairly straightforward. If any model could donate its running costs to our Frankencar, it’d be the car that costs nothing to run – and in the real world, that means an EV. The Nissan Leaf can be recharged for just a few pounds, is exempt from the London Congestion Charge and should be cheap to own, as there are no moving parts. Committing to electric also allows you to save the environment while you’re saving money.